J.P. Dargitz

By Christopher Zoukis

Some people called J.P. Dargitz a power broker.  Others, who weren’t quite so impressed, called him an influence peddler.  Still others, those who had been outsmarted by him, called J.P. Dargitz everything from a manipulator to a swindler.  One thing was for sure, though, J.P. Dargitz got things done.  The greater the challenge, the more J.P. liked it.  As soon as the goal was attained, he lost interest and moved on to newer challenges.  Image courtesy www.bluediamond.com

J.P. Dargitz hailed from Mansfield, Ohio, where he entered the world on September 8, 1859.  He attended public school in Asland, Ohio.  When he was 11-years old, his parents moved the family to Clarence, Iowa.  After graduating from high school, J.P. was offered the position of schoolteacher in Union County, Iowa.  The Union County School Board wanted the best teacher available and, impressed not only by J.P.’s academic record but also by his charismatic personality, they approached him on the very day of his graduation.  For five years, J.P. taught school.  Then, overcome by the urge to go somewhere else and do something new and different, J.P. quit and left.  He got a job as an agent of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, where he soon advanced to the position of traveling auditor.  Being an auditor was interesting for a while, but J.P. longed for some formidable task that would focus his talents.  Railroad auditors did the same thing over and over again.  J.P. wanted a grand adventure to give his life meaning and pizzazz. 

Like Solomon, he thought perhaps learning would make him happy.  So J.P. left the CB&Q and moved to Chicago – the windy city, where he studied medicine at the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College.  In 1889, at the age of 30, J.P. Dargitz graduated medical college at the top of his class.  He was now J.P. Dargitz, M.D.  

Doctor Dargitz moved to Wellsville, New York.  There he practiced his newly acquired skills in the healing arts.  Three years passed.  Then J.P. felt the stirrings of wanderlust rippling through him.  By this time, J.P. knew better than to try and ignore the sensation.  So he left Wellsville, going to Waukesha, Wisconsin, because he had heard it was an up and coming city, a place where exciting things were happening.  In Waukesha, J.P. supervised a homeopathic medical clinic, which clinics in 1892 were called ‘sanitariums.’  Boredom set in quickly, and with six months J.P. was on his way to the Pecos Valley of New Mexico, where he opened a medical office and – on a whim – bought a farm.  For a while, the intricacies of farming entertained J.P. Dargitz.  He liked the idea of producing something tangible – crops.  For one could measure one’s success by the size and quality of the harvest.  It was there in New Mexico that J.P. got religion.  For some inexplicable reason, he was attracted to the concepts of theology.  In hindsight, religion probably attracted him because of its profit potential, the potential of not only spiritual profit but also of financial profit.  So he began a correspondence course in Biblical studies.  It was a course offered by the Church of Christ, which was a small, conservative denomination, which tended toward separatism.  Which meant its adherents were cult-like, which meant they were easily manipulated.